Goan Pulled Pork

Goan pulled pork

When mankind ‘made fire’ it was for two reasons:

  • To keep warm
  • To cook meat

These days we have central heating to do the former, but we can’t get away from ‘making fire’ to cook meat, in other words it’s primal. Thankfully we’ve come along way with our gastronomic techniques since the cave, and we’ve discovered slow cooking, which is the only way to cook a shoulder of pork. The best way, however is to soak that hunk of meat in a wardrobe of spices together with sharp, tangy tamarind spiked with vinegar and touched with chilli. Why do we love slow cooked meat? I’ll hazard a guess that it’s because it’s meltingly tender, it falls apart just by looking at it, the ‘pulled’ or shredded texture is comforting and soaks up all those spices it’s been resting in and somehow one serving is just never enough.

So here’s my offering to the communal fire, it’s inspired by Goa’s Malabar coast and the early Portuguese settlers who used vinegar, chillies and local spices to create the first Vindaloo. Whilst the list of ingredients might invoke a tremor of fear, hold fast and make this Goan Pulled Pork a weekend project, invite the neighbours over, open the oven and await the applause. You might need sharp elbows for this one if you fancy seconds.

8- 10 Portions

  • 2kg rolled pork loin, shoulder or collar
  • 50ml vegetable or rapeseed oil
  • 3 tbsp fresh coriander, to garnish
  • For the masala marinade
  • 1 tbsp broken pieces of cinnamon
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 15 cloves
  • 2 large dried red chillies
  • 5cm piece fresh root ginger, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 small red onions, coarsely cut
  • 1 longish fresh green chilli
  • ½ heaped tsp turmeric
  • 2½ tbsp tamarind paste
  • 100ml palm vinegar (if not available use cider vinegar)
  • ½ tbsp brown sugar
  • 25ml sunflower or rapeseed oil
  • ½ tbsp salt
Goan puled pork recipe

How To Make Goan Pulled Pork

To make the marinade, coarsely crush the cinnamon, star anise and cloves with a pestle and mortar. Gently toast this mixture in a dry frying pan over a low heat. Tear the red chillies into pieces and add to pan. Continue to dry-fry but do not burn. Set aside to cool.

Put the cooled spice mix in a blender. Add the remaining ingredients. Blend to a paste.

Rub the masala all over the pork, and place the meat snugly in a dish. Set aside any remaining masala. Cover and chill the meat for 2 few hours.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Pour the oil into a roasting tin and heat on the hob over a medium heat. Scrape excess masala from the marinated pork, put the pork in the roasting tin and brown well on all sides. Transfer to the oven and cook for 30 minutes.

Reduce the oven heat to 130C. You can now pour a few tbsp of marinade over the pork. (Any leftover marinade can be set aside to use to make another dish.) Cover the pork tightly with tinfoil, ensuring it is well tucked in so that the pork essentially steams in the tin. Cook for a further 3–3½ hours. The meat will fall apart when cooked.

Remove the pork from the oven and shred using two forks. To serve, put some pork on top of the Thoran in a toasted brioche bun, milk bun or pav.

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